Project A, Part II
('A' gai waak juk jaap) (1987)
Directed by Jackie Chan

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* * *

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Having, in Project A, killed the leader of a pirate fleet plaguing the seas around Hong Kong, Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan), in this sequel to that movie, is assigned to take over a police district in the rough and tumble Nineteenth Century British colonial city from an official who is believed by his superiors to be corrupt. This new position and various other complications soon, however, bring the incorruptible young officer into conflict with the local gangsters who had previously enjoyed police protection, a group of women raising funds for revolutionaries fighting against the Ch'ing dynasty, the imperial officials who have been sent to apprehend them, and a gang of pirates who have come to kill Dragon in order to avenge his killing of their former leader.

Jackie Chan's Project A, Part II is, as is almost always the case with the filmmaker's projects, an amorphous, action filled adventure that is, despite its limitations, very fun to watch.

Not surprisingly, the film's plot exists almost exclusively to provide excuses for the numerous action sequences which constitute a large part of the movie's duration. Fortunately, these are consistently well performed, frequently funny, and always exciting. At various points in Project A, Part II, Chan takes on armies of gangsters, fights a band of pirates armed with hatchets while handcuffed to a fellow police officer, and engages in a wonderfully complicated struggle with the Ch'ing officials in which he leaps from one rooftop to another, gets caught up in various machines, and blinds his opponents with peppers. Project A, Part II's best sequence, however, is, perhaps, the comic scene in which virtually every character in the film arrives, at different times, at the house of one of the women, Yesan (Maggie Cheung), who is raising money for anti-Ch'ing revolutionaries, and each person, upon the arrival of the next, is forced to hide in an increasingly improbable location. The scene, while hardly innovative, is so skillfully done that it really is enjoyable.

I cannot claim that there is much in Project A, Part II, other than its action and comic sequences, for which it can be recommended. The narrative, for example, is often arbitrary, and the acting is occasionally abysmal. Nevertheless, the fight scenes and comedic skits included are all such fun that they are certain to keep the viewer engaged and amused.

Review by Keith Allen

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